Margaret Wheatley, the amazing woman who started a revolution in organizational development in 1992 with her book Leadership and the New Science, has a new book out that I've been reading with much pleasure since a friend gave it to me as a Christmas present. The title is Perseverance, and it's about how we can all persevere through a time of uncertainty, difficulty, and occasional insanity to find hope and contribute to making things better for the people we love. Here is a quote that struck me in a personal way:
"What would it feel like to surrender to the rhythms and dynamics of life? What would it feel like to realize we don't really have a choice here--we can either participate with life, or resist it and drive ourselves to exhaustion and failure. Instead of working so hard to actively construct our lives, we could relax with the opportunities that life provides, both the good and the bad ones. People who have this type of relationship with life are truly more relaxed. The seeming loss of control doesn't create anxiety or feelings of distress. It does the reverse, it creates feelings of ease and clarity--and the capacity to stay. Surrendering to life offers some wonderful realizations. We learn we're capable of being in this dance, of working with whatever happens. We learn to trust ourselves and then others and, gradually, we learn that life itself can be trusted."
Over the past few years, I've been working intentionally to slow down and accept more gracefully that I cannot and should not try to be in charge of the universe--instead, I can be a partner with life itself. The question I've tried to ask is, What is the wise action that lasts? In other words: What is the choice I can make or the act I can take in this moment that will matter ten years from now? I am becoming more aware of the quality of my actions and less focused on simply getting things done.